We speak to an award-winning multidisciplinary artist and reveal her immense love for travelling the world with YouTrip.
When Yang first got an email from Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) in 2017, she thought it was a scam. The email was an invitation to the prestigious annual South Korean music awards ceremony in Hong Kong, where she had won the Best Visual & Art Director award.
Yang at the Mnet Asian Music Awards 2017 as the recipient of Best Visual & Art Director
Her winning submission, ‘Keep Me Jealous’, was a music video she had worked from scratch for Singaporean band The Sam Willows. From art direction to production design, the 25-year-old deep dived into her creation space to construct this award-winning video.
When did you realise the email invitation wasn’t a scam?
I couldn’t believe myself for that whole month and everyday I was waiting for the second email to say, “We made a mistake, it’s not you. Jk! Fake news!” Only until the very moment I stepped foot onto the plane, then I realised, “Oh my… it’s not a scam!” because they had me seated in Business Class, and that was my first time flying fancy hahaha. And I was so not used it! I had such a hard time finding the earphone jack in my seat that I had to ask the guy next to me for help. I swear I saw his eye rolled.
Yang on the set of ‘Keep Me Jealous’ music video.
Before you became a multidisciplinary artist, what were you doing?
After I graduated junior college at 18 years old, I became a part-time tuition teacher for a while as my pre-university work… you know lah, the usual… give tuition to kids.
Haven’t we all been there!
Right? And then I was also at Makansutra as an assistant writer and intern. So you know they publish a food guide book every two years right? And I had this crazy excel sheet that listed all the rated hawkers in Singapore, and I had to make sure that every hawker is still in business.
If they don’t pick up when I call them, I’d have to go all the way down and ask, “Uncle! You still open everyday?” From Char Kway Teow to Chee Kueh, I was visiting them all across Singapore – North, South, East, West.
Did you travel out of Singapore as well?
Actually, a colleague of mine couldn’t make it to Singapore Day in New York due to visa problems, so my boss asked if I would like to go, I jumped at it, you know? That was my first work trip and it blew my mind. I loved New York, it was everything like the movies and it was my dream to be there. New York was everything and more – I’ve been there 6 times since.
Did University hinder your travels?
In Year 2, I applied for an internship at a local jeweller as a part-time job, and I really wanted to join them for their upcoming Paris Fashion Week. I got the job without the guarantee that I could go to Paris, but my boss saw my dedication and offered to pay for half of my trip, even though it wasn’t necessary for me to be there. Later on, I also saved up and did a summer course at Central Saint Martins in London to learn about textiles.
Yang on the set of Jasmine Sokko’s ‘Hurt’ music video.
How does travelling inspire you as a multidisciplinary artist?
Travelling does two things – one, I gain access to stories of people, culture, and history. Two, it humbles me, as I’m constantly reminded of how small and insignificant I am while standing in front of mountains and skyscrapers, in front of people who would do something way more efficiently than I would by way of creativity. Travelling also shows me different things – different ways of dealing with life. And I bring these concepts back home, and present them as stories through the medium of art.
How many places have you travelled to?
Even after graduation, there were a lot of work trips among leisure ones. I did Bali, Jakarta, Paris, Hong Kong. And for the past two years, I also visited New York, Montreal, Taipei, Hokkaido, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Hangzhou, Shanghai, oh and Los Angeles! But I’ve mostly lost count, since I’m working towards being based in both Singapore and New York, and internationally!
You must have a huge storage for all the currencies!
Actually, ever since I’ve gotten the YouTrip card, I haven’t been to the money changer. Either I pay with my YouTrip card, or I just withdraw when necessary. Like in Bali, I only withdraw when I had to pay my driver.
Glad you like it!
It definitely helped me to be less haphazard with my purchases, because I used to bring cash overseas and when that’s depleted, I will rely solely on my bank’s debit cards and be subjected to all the fees.
What was your most memorable trip that was laden with fees?
When I was in New York, everything was cashless. Gyozas? Cashless. Coffee? Cashless. A lot of them were straight up “I don’t take cash.” I had to use my bank card for every payment. My Uber rides, my coffee, the transaction card fees all added up, and it always felt like I was blindsided – but mostly by choice lah because I chose to be ignorant. When I’m overseas, I feel more easygoing with money, that’s why I didn’t pay attention to the card fees, and they really snowballed.
Yang and her design showcase at the Keeper’s Playground of Infinite Happiness.
Now that you have the YouTrip card, it must be a breeze?
Yes! I’m always rushing to the airport, so I would just have to top up my YouTrip account while on the way and I’m ready to spend at my destination.
Any thoughts about the YouTrip card?
A well-designed piece of furniture solves our daily problems, and the YouTrip card is the same. It solves my constant travel money issues. Now that I can travel with one less thing to worry about, I can truly focus on my important tasks. Energy and attention is finite, so I’d want to devote them into the right things.
Do you have an inspiring story? Holler to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be our next Spotlight!
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